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Saturday 10 December 2011

Conductors as school assistants?

"Now come on AP, speak to me, tell me what you think."
Petö Institute, 28th Novemeber 2011

Conductors as assistants, that is my thought of the day!

On the first Sunday in Advent I was in Budapest, reminiscing and thinking about things Hungarian and conductive.

On the Second Advent’s Sunday I was in Nürnberg, looking at the photographs that I took in Budapest, so I was still reminiscing, and thinking, as always, of things conductive.

Over breakfast with two candles, I was thinking especially about things conductive with school children.

Main-stream school

I wondered how many conductors there are working as classroom assistants for children with special needs, and how many conductors, like me, are working closely with assistants in an advisory role and often wishing that certain children could have a conductor as a personal school assistant.

I think that this could possibly be the way forward here, in Germany, where so many of our “conductive lifestyle” children are now attending mainstream school. Could it be possible, would it be a good idea, to introduce conductors as school assistants?

I know that there are already two conductors in Germany doing this work. I know that already several ex-middle-school teachers are doing this work too. Could and should more conductors take on this role? 
What do readers think?

One of my colleagues has worked in her homeland as the classroom assistant for a child with physical disabilities for two years, with much success. She was employed by the child’s parents to work in this position.

Conductive input for school children

In Germany he six-and seven-year-old children have a short school day, finishing at 11.30. When they are eight or nine the school-day is longer, sometimes extending to 13.00.  There is still time for these children to attend conductive sessions two or three times a week.

As children get older the school day gets longer, there is also more homework to complete and more after-school commitments.

What happens then?

What happens to the conductive input? How does the conductor keep an eye on the various areas of the children’s lives if they no longer have the time or the energy to attend conductive sessions once or twice a week? There are of course house visits, and summer intensive blocks or conductive holidays for the children, but perhaps the best solution is to have the conductors there is school as the children’s personal classroom assistant.

Conductive upbringing for at least six hours of the day, that sounds pretty good to me.

Still deep in thought while counting the candles

It is now the third Advent weekend and I am still thinking about this subject that was prompted by a presentation given by Dr Franz Schaffhauser in Budapest on 25th November, titled the Philosophy and Pedagogy of Inclusion.

I have a case at the moment where a conductive assistant would, I believe, be the perfect solution. I think it would ensure that this specific child makes it. He needs that certain extra to makes the grade for gymnasium, which is his ambition for his future. I think that finding solutions for the complexity of his problems needs a conductive eye, and especially as this child has been brought up conductively for six of his nine years he would take to it like a duck to water.

We will see what the future brings

Have any other conductors got experience to share of working as a child’s classroom assistant in a main-stream school? Any comments and information, experiences and advice all gratefully received.


Anonymous said...

This is what conductive education fights against. Be a simple assistant next to a simple CP student. If we talk about inclusion, don't separate the CP student more with a professional teacher (now that Peto Inst. doesn't give QTS I can't say teacher-what a shame!) who learnt that working with CP children in groups have the real effect of the method. Don't use astronauts as helicopter pilots (just to be literal...)

Susie Mallett said...

Thank you for your comments.

I will write more on this subject on my blog during the week, perhaps by then a few more comments will have appeared here. Just at the moment I would like to ask Anonymous a few questions so that I can better understand the comments already made and form my own further comments accordingly.

In which countries does “Conductive Education fight against” conductors becoming personal-classroom assistants for conductively brought-up children? I do not believe this to be the case here in Germany. It is something that many of us are discussing more and more often and working towards in some cases.

I think, after checking the Sitemeter on my blog, that you are writing from England and I am very interested to hear about the views on this subject from other conductors working in that country, and if it is at all possible to be employed in this capacity there. Of course any comments from other countries too are very welcome.

I wonder, whether this could be more about the level of payment that assistants in different countries receive and not about whether conductors are suitable for the job.

What do you mean by this statement: “Be a simple assistant beside a simple CP student”? Please can you also explain what you mean by the word simple in both cases?

Do you mean when you say not to use astronauts as helicopter pilots that a conductor does not have the appropriate qualifications to work as a classroom assistant?

In Germany it is possible to be a classroom assistant with no qualifications or as a qualified teacher. The assistant is chosen to suit the work he or she is asked to do. Here in Nürnberg for example we have an ex-university lecturer assisting a blind sixth-form pupil who specialises in sciences and maths, several junior-school teachers assisting children with CP and other learning difficulties and there is a counsellor assisting a youngster with autism. The assistants receive training from specialists in the different fields, conductors advise those assistants who work with the conductively brought-up children, and other specialist from the school for visual impairments and the autistic centre in the city advise the other assistants, and us too whenever we need it.

Andrew said...

I will want to come back to this whole interesting question.

In the meantime, I have done a quick Internet search for "helicopter pilot" AND "astronaut". I found, not unexpectedly, considerable and presumably successful crossover. Thank are due to Anon for a most instructive analogy.